Meridian, Miss. One week ago, Kim Houston and her husband, Gary, set a goal of raising $8000 in one week’s time to help the victims of the Western Gardens fire. In that time, they did raise over $6000 for the cause.
The check from the Meridian Community Initiative was presented Tuesday to the Meridian Housing Authority, to assist eight families in getting back on their feet.
Houston, who serves Ward 4 on the Meridian City Council, says, "This is just an opportunity to be a blessing for someone else. I know that this is going to make all the difference as kids get ready to go back to school, parents get ready to go back to work, and this is one less thing they have to worry about. When you have to pay rent and bills, you may not have money to buy furniture and that kind of thing."
All of the families affected by the fire have now been placed back into permanent housing. This money will go towards replacing some of the items lost, but not everything can be replaced.
"Some things can never be replaced but this will at least say, 'hey, we care, I care," says Houston. "We're going to make a difference where we can."
While the goal wasn't quite reached, the amount raised says a lot about the people of this city.
Ron Turner, executive director of the Meridian Housing Authority, says, "This community has been outstanding. This community has been amazing. And these residents are just so appreciative of the outpouring of love and support that they received from this community."
Houston said she hopes to see the city catch a spark for helping their fellow man.
"It sends a message to the community that when one hurts, we all hurt," says Houston.